The plan had been, as it was on every Twelfth Night, to dance the evening away in the meadow. But it was raining again, and so everyone piled once more into Old Possum’s living room. Rabbit lit the stubs of all the Yuletide candles; Squirrel cajoled the children into pushing the furniture to the edges of the room; Possum dragged a battered leather case out of the hall closet and unsnapped the lid, revealing his grandfather’s ancient accordion, which he could play well enough; and once everyone was ready, Raccoon called them through the country-dance steps she’d learned from her grandmother, who’d learned them from her own grandmother.
Long past midnight — after much dancing, and after they’d welcomed Old Christmas with tea and chocolate cake and frosted gingerbread and snickerdoodle pie, and while the littlest ones struggled to stay awake amidst Goodnights and Goodbyes — Possum blew out the Yuletide candles for the last time. Once they were outside in the crisp, cold air, the children were suddenly wide awake and wondering aloud about the Christmas gifts Squire Frog might have left on their windowsills and doorsteps while they were out.